Opinion: More racetracks in India will give the much-needed boost

News that three racetracks are coming up in India is a breath of fresh air.

Opinion: More racetracks in India will give the much-needed boost

Take any sport, the first thing required is grounds and equipment and in the case of motorsport, it is tracks.

For many, many years, India, has had to do with just two tracks viz Madras Motor Race Track (Sriperumbudur, Chennai) and the Kari Motor Speedway (Coimbatore). The Buddh International Circuit came up much later and its story is sad.

Will more tracks help the growth of the sport in the country? It definitely will.

Common thinking in on the line that if a new track is coming up, it is going to be an FIA Grade 1 facility that can host Formula 1 and MotoGP.

Well, we don’t need FIA Grade 1 tracks. Hosting Formula 1 or MotoGP is good for the country’s image. But as to the usefulness in promoting domestic motorsport, F1, MotoGP or similar high profile events hardly help. India could very well do with smaller tracks.

In cricket, the wicket differs from country to country. If a player has no experience except on a few wickets in just one region, it will be a struggle in different conditions. Similarly, if Indian drivers and riders are used to just three tracks, where are they going to get the experience from?

Suppose the country’s National Championships are conducted on five to six different tracks, competitors gain more experience in different conditions. One could argue that they could go outside, but with motorsport being ridiculously expensive, it may not make financial sense.

The proposed tracks are to come up in Hyderabad, Hosur and between Mumbai and Pune. Though the first two tracks are again in the southern part of India, a track near Mumbai/ Pune will benefit and encourage more from nearby places to think of taking up motorsport as a serious career.

With the northern half of India having just one major track, the ideal situation would be to have something there.

The North East has a lot of interest in motorsport and their bike riders appear to be pretty talented. Corporates should take interest, obviously with a push from the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India for such initiatives.

Several international visitors have been calling for more tracks, including FIA President Jean Todt during his recent visit and also Ron Hogg, whose company promotes the two-wheeler Asia Road Racing Championship.

When there are more tracks, there is a better chance that manufacturers will begin to show interest and bigger events will begin to trickle into India.

If there are healthy National Championships and manufacturers start entering, it could lead to better business models coming into being so that the tracks do not run under loss.

A lot more can be done. However, for the moment, the fact that parties have shown interest in building tracks and the FMSCI is in serious talks is a good sign in itself.

 

 
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